Terms that every Singaporean should know

Singaporeans are an interesting lot.

Having a country as a melting pot of different types of race and cultures, would eventually create an interesting dish of a custom. Sometimes it’s so intertwined that it’s even hard to tell, which is an Indian, Chinese or a Malay custom.

The way we talk also is an amalgam of the different languages that we’ve come to call it affectionately – Singlish.

For example :

“Aiyo! Why lidat? Eber-itaim arrow and sabo me. Heng ah!”

Foreigners might scratch their heads trying to catch heads and tails of what a native would say here – but let me try to make it easier for you to understand :

Here is a list of phrases commonly said by a Singaporean

Lah:

Commonly used as an expression at the end of some sentences.

1.”Why are you so like that lah?”
2. “I dont know, lah!”

With “lah”, it gives a boost to a statement. Rather than just saying, “I don’t know”, adding a lah at the end will make an emphasis that the speaker really doesn’t know.

Wah lau:

An expression of “oh my goodness” or “wow” or “damn” depending on the tone of voice used.

1. “Wah lau. Simple like this also you cock up.”
2. “How can you do this to me? Wah lau”

Take note that in Singlish, semantics and grammar are not important and sentences are usually shortened as much as possible.

Abothen:

An equivalent of “of couse!” “duh!” A sarcastic response to an obvious statement or question

1.”Wah, see you got wear so swee-swee… confirm you tonight go pak tor, lor!”

Buat bodoh:

To feign ignorance or to play dumb

Buaya :

Malay for crocodile. Used to describe a wolf or a sleazy pick up artist.

Dao :

Arrogant and haughty

Gerek:

Malay, used to describe a situation that is cool or groovy.

1. “Did you see Ahmad’s new motorcycle? So gerek!

Jambu:

Used to describe a beautiful woman. Derived from a name of a local juicy fruit

1. “Check out that minah! Jambu!”

Kan Cheong:

A Cantonese and Hokkien term meaning nervous, harried or uptight.

1.”Your exam in June, now only March, you kan-cheong for what?”

The exam’s in June and now it’s only March. What are you getting so nervous about? Kan cheong can be further boosted by saying, “Kan Cheong Spider”

Kepo / Kaypoh:

A busybody or nosey parker. Can also be used as an adjective or verb.

1. 1A is so kepo! Everything also want to see.

Translated as : 1A is such a busybody! He wants to poke his nose into everything he sees!

Mafan:

Mandarin for “bother” or “bothersome”; used either as a verb or adjective.

Shack:

To be extremely tired

1. “After taking care of all the monkeys in the zoo today, I feel so shack man”

Shiok:

Originally a Malay exclamation, but now a universal Singaporean expression denoting extreme pleasure or the highest quality.

1. This Hor Fun is so delicious man! Eat the noodle until shiok!

Siam:

Hokkien term for “get out of the way”. You can use this word by itself to shoo people away, or in the sense of making oneself scarce or dodging a task.

Sian:

A wonderfully concise Hokkien adjective which conveys boredom, weariness, frustration and emptiness.

Siao:

Hokkien for “mad” or “crazy”

Some kids from 1A were reading my blog today. I’ve *no* idea how they chanced to my address. Its’ a good thing that I never put in anything really secretive!

By the way, to all the 1A students reading this, you’re ALL going to detention. I’ve got all your IP addresses!

I’m watching you!

Spending Chinese New Year’s Eve in West Spring Secondary

Not sure what to update the blog with, so I suppose I’ll just write what what happened to me today.

Woke up and left home much earlier than usual today since it was the Chinese New Year’s eve. That means that there wasn’t any teaching today and in place, would be a concert followed by a class party. Left the house at about 7 am-ish and I must say, that after going to work much much later, I have to admit that seeing the early morning sunrise is really beautiful. I love to see the early morning fog and dew and the cool soft morning breeze. I should take a picture of the area in the early morning one day. I think that would make a lovely photographic project.

Dozed off in the bus again. It’s such a bad bad bad habit that I’m not too proud of. I wont read in the bus since its bad for the eyes and seeing the same route again makes me so bored that even with kylie on my MP3 player didn’t keep me awake enough. Blame it on the one hour journey. I didn’t have to wait that long at the old location. It used to be a speedy 30 minutes. Even an episode of “60 minutes” is much shorter than that. Fortunately, and amazingly, I guess I’m in sync enough with the bus journey that I always wake up at the right bus stop. I stretched, pressed the buzzer and waited at the exit. I then looked at the bus driver and waved goodbye at him.

Bad move. He thought that I was waving to say that “No, this isn’t my stop” so he continued driving. So I missed a few stops because I got stunned that he didn’t stop at the right bus stop to press the buzzer again.

Lesson learnt

Do not wave at bus drivers until you have safely departed from the bus.

Thus, I reached the school a little late. And pretty much missed the lion dance. But I’ve seen that ceremony for at least 3 times ever since I went to West Spring so it wasn’t such a let down for me.

I plonked my bag at my already horrifyingly barren undecorated table (compared to this)

I proceeded to go to the hall where the concert was held. There were a few number of performances. While I was there the emcee’s were just starting to introduce the dikir barat.

*Dikir barat are a group of singers that sing accordingly to the clapping of their hands and does intricate movement of their hands while sitting down. They are almost always accompanied by a gong and a small drum.

There was this giant chicken that came over. I reckon it was to symbolise the year of the rooster in the chinese zodiac

What made me chuckle out loud was that the chicken was constantly being bullied by the kids. Many were pulling its tail, some where smacking its beak with their hands and you’d see the poor chicken trying desperately to dodge them. Even the teachers were holding the chicken’s arm trying to figure out who it was.

“Hmmm … too skinny cant be so and so”

Here are some pictures of the kids in action

After which, there were a class parties held by some of the students here. Free food is always good 😛

I was just having a little chat with Evannia and congratulated her upon winning the overall class decoration. She said that her classmates pooled up 70 dollars just for the decoration and my eyes almost popped out. Yikes! That was a lot of money for just decorations. But since her classmates chipped in (and there are about 40 people on average per class) it wasn’t so bad I guess.

This is evannia, isn’t she adorable? 🙂

Some decoration I found in a class

Pretty girls in a revamped kebaya style outfit

And finally …

Okay, kind of tired now, I think I’ll continue with part two later 🙂